Wed | Jun 28, 2017

Mark Wignall | Who is out to get Ian Hayles?

Published:Sunday | March 19, 2017 | 3:00 AM
Ian Hayles has sought to suppress the disclosure in Parliament of a report on him by the contractor general.

At its best, party politics is about the formation of viable bodies to advance the social and economic direction of a country, motions that tend to happen in Jamaica more as the exception than the rule.

At its worst, party politics is akin to the piracy of old where factions plan raids on others and powerful jefes get to decide whose boat must be attacked and sent to the bottom of the sea tomorrow.

The PNP is quite obviously not enjoying its time in Opposition. "Realistically, I cannot see us taking the next election. The JLP Government would have to really screw up quite badly, and based on where I sit and how I see them operating with making the landscape business friendly and the things I hear the little man saying, I don't see the country giving it to Peter Phillips at the next election," said a veteran PNP MP to me last Wednesday.

"So, what is the big plan at this time for the PNP?" I asked.

"Well, we are just going to wait and get the new direction from Phillips. The problem I personally have with that is that he means well, but he always sounds like he is in a university lecture hall. Analysts like you have not figured it out yet. It was Andrew Holness, almost alone, who won the 2016 election for the JLP. He understands how to engage with the people and I can't see Peter topping that."

I shifted in my chair, then asked, What is this thing with Ian Hayles?"

He had a lot of information. "It's right out of a movie script, with people looking down the road and planning their moves." Then he told me about the tale of intrigue and the players involved. He gave me the names of those involved and a few who would be willing to give me information, but only on condition that they remained nameless.

By Thursday morning, I was given a document. It has been alleged in the OCG report that the PNP member from Western Hanover, Ian Hayles, has gone on a building spree without having the required permits. But first, one extract from the OCG report would seem to throw cold water on that.

On page 202 of the OCG report, Construction of Buildings by Mr. Ian Hayles, the following is stated,

"The OCG has seen no evidence to suggest that Mr Ian Hayles has a legal interest in the properties identified as Just One Plaza, located in Orange Bay, Hanover, or the resort located in Cousin's Cove, Hanover. The land upon which the Just One Plaza is situated is legally owned by Mr Alfred Graham and Mr Peter Taylor, with an equitable interest vesting in Dr Keisha Gaye Alexander-Gabbadon and Mrs Pauline Gray.

"The 'Resort' located in Cousins Cove, Hanover, is legally owned by 'Gebehard Hojan' and 'Pauline Holgate (Hojan)', with beneficial/equitable interest vesting in 'Mrs Charlotte Alexander' and Mrs Pauline Gray (the wife and mother of Mr Hayles) in accordance with agreements for sale."

As to spurious allegations that the construction began without the required permit, I have seen a receipt no. 553841 dated September 1, 2015 by the Hanover Parish Council. The fees paid over was [sic] $128,062.00.

There is much more to this matter, but that's for next week.

 

Where is OCG report on the SE St Ann matter?

 

In September of 2016, the contractor general was on a roll after he was called in to investigate irregularities in the St Ann Parish Council and, especially in South East St Ann, the constituency of PNP MP, Lisa Hanna.

As we know, it is the culture in Jamaica that contractors general must act without fear or favour. The previous contractor general, Greg Christie, was a bit of a grandstander, but based on the complaints I received from both the JLP and the PNP, Christie was simply allowing the chips to fall where they may, even if I personally believed his overactivism and zeal messed up quite a few big projects in Jamaica.

We have yet to determine where the present contractor general falls on this scale. That said, he seemed to have been on fire as he waded into the lushness of St Ann.

In reference to the Hanover Parish Council and then mayor Shernet Haughton - the lady awarding contracts to many family members - Harrison said of the St Ann situation, "My personal view is that if you think what happened in Hanover is bad, Hanover is a baby to St Ann."

He uttered those words while addressing a meeting of local government authorities of Jamaica kept in Clarendon. He added to that pot of simmering soup the following: "Preliminary findings revealed fraud, forgery, and conspiracy. We are taking our time, but the investigation is still ongoing."

Although the general public is becoming more sensitised to corruption in Government, Jamaica is still not yet at that place where we are ready to stand up and be counted in recognition as to how public corruption depletes the body politic. We are still a long way off, but we will get there.

 

More sinister corruption

 

Many of us are familiar with slipping a few dollars to a public official for a jump in the line or the beating stick, the traffic cop with his pen hovering over a traffic ticket. We also speak of politicians getting kickbacks on big projects, but we can never quite recover that paper trail to prove our point beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt.

But a much bigger type of corruption exists where men and women called to high public office meet behind closed doors to dole out favours and destroy lives in furtherance of solidifying their power. Sometimes, two or three can share and split up this power to ensure that only their favourites get the first bite of the cherry while using innuendo to denigrate the names of others.

Many of us in the journalistic community know them, know of their hidden alliances, but we are cordoned off because even those who promise to come forward are always falling back and leaving us with the stinking end of the stick.

In addition, too many of us are just trying to get along with our lives and do not wish to overturn anyone's apple cart.

What makes those instances particularly painful are when two or three wealthy, powerful members in high standing in the society get to decide that they can use their power and seize the little that hard-working people have earned. It may be land, transfer of small properties, or just simply stopping ambitious, hard-working Jamaicans from attaining their socio-economic dreams.

Monthly, I am inundated with complaints by small fish of much bigger fish raiding their pots and putting out their fires. Then when the small fish attempts, to get 'justice', those at the top make a pretence at delivering it when all that they are doing is slowing down processes and forcing the small man and woman into frustration and acquiescence.

I know that as a young nation (55), we are still experiencing teething pains, but the path to real justice in this country must be recognised by the present governmental administration and placed right on the front burner.

The automatic problem with that is the fact that power knows no political boundaries. Once one is prepared to play the game and give up much of what is one's right, one may strike an agreement. But it all comes down to power inside that infernal cabal and the willingness of an impatient population to bear more pain. For how much longer?

- Mark Wignall is a political analyst. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and observemark@gmail.com.